Missouri Valley / Iowa

Wardell Grows Tennis Through Parks

June 24, 2020

July has been celebrated in America as National Parks and Recreation Month since 1985. 


To honor this special month, USTA Iowa is delighted to recognize our very own President, Jack Wardell, who has accomplished much in both tennis and in Parks and Recreation. 


Wardell’s tennis journey began in the sixth grade and continued into his college career where he played tennis and graduated with a degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from the University of South Dakota.


His professional career began on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he worked as a tennis teaching professional. He would later return to school to get his masters in Parks and Recreation, a decision that soon led him back to his hometown of Sioux City, where he took on the role of Parks and Recreation Director. 


In 2005, he transitioned into his current role as the Director of Parks and Recreation in Carroll, Iowa. His background in Parks and Recreation has helped him make an impact on local tennis as he offers perspective, angles, and resources to get players started in tennis through programming on public courts. 


Likewise, the USTA has made a great impact on local Parks and Recreation departments as well. John Terpkosh, USTA Missouri Valley Parks and Recreation Program Manager and USTA Iowa Tennis Service Representative, coordinates efforts between the USTA and Parks and Recreation departments across the section. 


“John does a great job of filling the gaps between the USTA and Parks and Rec,” Wardell said. “He’s there every step of the way.”


For Terpkosh, filling in the gaps looks like attending Parks and Recreation conferences, connecting people in small towns to new tennis programs, assisting parks and recreation departments in securing funding for new equipment or courts, and providing qualified tennis instructors. 


“At Carroll Parks and Recreation, we are very fortunate to partner with the USTA,” Wardell said. “When I first started as Director, my first job was to get new tennis courts. We were able to get six new courts, and the USTA helped fund that. It’s been nice to have the USTA help us out with getting tennis in the community and build the game of tennis.“


As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USTA and Parks and Recreation departments everywhere yet again benefit from partnering together. According to experts such as those at the University of Kansas Health System, outdoor tennis is one of the safest sports to play right now as there is plenty of open space in between players and the sport naturally lends itself to social distancing principles. So it’s time to get out and play!

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